The Winner of the 2011 Book Drum Tournament



Emily Gray 

In a unanimous decision, the judges awarded first prize to Emily Gray for her stunning profile of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg.

A week before the 2011 Book Drum Tournament closed, we had never heard of Emily Gray. While other Contributors had been building their Tournament profiles on the site for weeks or months, the Oxford English Dictionary researcher had quietly assembled her entry offline. Confident that no one else would claim such an obscure title, she waited until five days before the deadline to register her entry.

Emily was introduced to Hogg’s powerful tale while studying English Literature at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. “It’s my favourite book,” she said. “Not many people have read it, but I’m slowly getting more and more people to try it.”

The judges declared her profile to be, "Simply excellent - relevant, interesting and inventive, giving a real sense of someone very literate engaging with the book in a way that was both intelligent and quietly passionate."


Gordon Knox (156 * 240)      Jo Trew 2

Second prize was awarded to Gordon Knox for The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy.  

What the judges said: "Clear, thoughtful and enticing, written with a brilliant understanding of the book - covering not only its strengths but also those elements that might present obstacles to readers. Genuinely exciting - it really makes you want to read the book."


Third prize was awarded to Johanna Trew for War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

What the judges said: "An extraordinary achievement - informative, thoughtful and occasionally playful, impressive in scope and ambition. It's hard to take such a monumental subject without falling short, but the profile lived up to it, helping us see past the reputation to a book that is accessible and compelling."


Runner-up Prizes

Kerri McDonald (My Traitor's Heart); Eleanor Updegraff (The Reluctant Fundamentalist); Wendy Attwell (Possession); Bryony Bell (Nights at the Circus); Helen Anderson (Disgrace)


My Traitor's Heart  The Reluctant Fundamentalist  Possession  Nights at the Circus  Disgrace



Congratulations to all prize winners, and thank you to everyone who took part in the 2011 Tournament!